Ayuda! Pomoc! Tulong! Help! I’m an English Learner in a Digital Land

Jannita Demian, English Language Learner Specialist

Jannita Demian, one of my BFF from CA, was 10 minutes into her presentation when I arrived to blog, but considering the 4 city-block walk from Hall Davidson’s presentation, you would understand the late arrival. Using DiscoveringSreaming videos for English Language Learners, Jannita reminded us that we can reuse the same video for scaffolding multiple instructional purposes. For example, if violent is a vocabulary word, you need to differentiate between a person v. a tornado. You get engagement with video. “If the door you’re knocking on to engage them isn’t opening, try another door. They’re in another house.” My favorite quote and so true for many learners, not just English language learners.

Jannita is legendary for her 50 Ways presentations, and has star status as an English Language Learner specialist. In this presentation, she combines both specialties with many ways to teach special language learning students . When asked if she would ask her students to summarize a text, Jannita said we would need to redefine summarize and understanding because it is very different for an ELL.

For comprehensible input, guided practice must be written, oral, visual, and auditory. Working with ELL students, Jannita says that often you think you have really nailed your explanation, but when the hands go up to ask comprehensive questions, Jannita sends students who need remediation to DE  explanations. DE also has eBooks, broken into passages. Jannita says she starts her students with Wordle, where they take the text and make a graphic design highlighting key concepts. Then she takes them to DE eBooks. She flips her classroom using Lodge McCammon’s lectures made with paper slides. Take a look at this paper slide video; Lodge creates the music and lyrics, then slides the paper with concepts.

Jannita says she never begins with the lesson; she begins with play and then teaches the lesson. We are dealing with the M2 Generation, who use 7.5 hours a day with media. But it’s really more like 10.75 because you don’t see them texting. Another Jannita expression: “When you back up the truck to the door, you need to be sure you are delivering what was expected.” Using Jannita’s strategies coupled with Discovery Education assets, you can only succeed, and considering your student audience, that’s a win-win situation.

Jannita graciously shared her slide presentation with us, and we thank her wholeheartedly.





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  1. Alex Berdos said:

    Thank you for the great article. Jannita is doing are wonderful work. Wish her further successes and keep up the good work!

  2. Michael Shelby said:

    I am a former teacher of English as a second language.
    Would you like to read some of my free articles that may give learners of English new ideas for more productive learning? I have created a number of articles on mastering various aspects of English and a special list of the most important English learning aids. My articles have already been published on a number of websites but my articles may be of interest to learners (users of your site) and to you personally. I consider them more practical and more helpful than many articles for quicker and more effective mastering of English by foreign learners. My suggestions may be useful to you and adaptable for your purposes.

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